Mealista Beaches , Uig, Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides Photos

Mealista or Mealasta as the Gaelic spelling) is a small area or township, now uninhabited, on the west of the Isle of Lewis, with a lovely beach. The road past Uig meanders on through the moorland with the great Atlantic Sea on your right and passes the Mealista beaches, with their beautiful rocks and rock pools, often totally deserted which males the beach even more attractive.
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Mealista
Mealista or Mealasta as the Gaelic spelling) is a small area or township, now uninhabited, on the west of the Isle of Lewis, with a lovely beach. The road past Uig meanders on through the moorland with the great Atlantic Sea on your right and passes the Mealista beach, with its beautiful rocks and rock pools, often totally deserted which males the beach even more attractive.



The road then carries on, only a few more yards and ends at the lovely little stone pier or jetty.You can see Isle of Scarp, St. Kilda and Flannan Isles from here on a good day. From this point, there are many walks and if you climb up the sloping rocky outcrop, you will be rewarded by the splendid Atlantic views as well as the sight of eagles from time to time. At this point you u are less than 15 miles from the similar road end in North Harris and there were once plans to link the two roads, however this never happened, which all goes to help make this spot extra special.



The History of Mealista - How it was Formed and the Peoples Who Lived There
Mealista a long time ago - Ancient Mountain Range - as High as The Himalayas - Ice Melts

The rocks of the hills and the shore at Mealista were once part of a very ancient mountain range once as high as the Himalayas. They have been eroded by time, and more recently ground smooth by vast sheets of ice. This created the magnificent scenery at Mealista. As the ice melted, it left thin soil, humps and hollows. The sea level rose and created islands, beaches and sea inlets.

 

People arrived three and a half thousand years ago

People arrived more than three and a half thousand years ago, tilled the land, fished in the seas.
The wind blew sand from the beaches to produce the lime rich "machair", good for the crops and wildflowers. The cooler weather encouraged peat to grow on the upper slopes and this buried some good soil, but provided fuel for fires. The people built houses out of stone and cut the meagre supply of timber for roofs and tools.

 



Then the Vikings settled at Mealista!
Then the Vikings settled at Mealista!

By two thousand years ago dwindling land resources,squabbles over land ownership and raids by pirates, meant a more precarious existence. Local stories tell of underground passages here, possibly used as secret stores or hiding places. Later fierce raiders from the North, the Vikings came and carried off slaves. Later some of the Norsemen returned to settle. They stayed for a few hundred years and intermarried, so in one respect they never left, for their genes still persist in the local population and all the local place names are Norse.



Townships - but landlords evicted the people in favour of farms
There are a number of traceable townships. One is to be found at Village Bay where the clustered ruins (now partly a sheep fank) are of houses of the seventeenth century or earlier. The sad ruins, mainly beyond the large farm stonewall, were the houses of the last inhabitants who left, involuntarily , in 1838. The “feannagan” or lazybeds, which cover the slopes, are testimony to their struggle to survive. All these were dug by hand and planted with oats, barley and potatoes. The landlord wanted their township as a farm, and shepherds from Kintail were given the tack. The people, so cruelly evicted, had to move, some to Ness, others to Canada & Australia.

Folklore - Fact or Fiction - Nuns - Infants born on Mealista
There is a strong tradition of a nunnery at Mealastadh, Taih nan Cailleachen Dubha (House of the old Black Women, or nuns). So far no one has been successful in finding records of its existence or exact whereabouts. There is a small early church and graveyard close to the sea. Mysterious lights are said to appear on the sea, and one disappeared forever in 1932, when four local fishermen were tragically drowned. Another story tells that any infant born on Mealastadh Island would not be of “sound mind”.



Recent Ruins Remain at Mealista
The most recent ruins seen here are the remnants of the military operations that took place from 1941 – 1946. Two or three hundred men were stationed at Mealista and Brenais, to operate wireless and radar installations. There was a cinema, a bar, regular dances, but when the war was over, they all left. Mealista was once again a place of peace and tranquility, with just the memories and traces of the people of the past. Just the remains of the peoples stone & turf blackhouses stay to remind of others who lived and loved this place. It was their treasured home, until they were unwillingly forced out.


Mangersta - Isle of lewis
Mangersta gets the full swells of the Atlantic ocean. Hugh rollers crash onto the beach. Traigh Mhangurstadh is reached by parking on the left of the main road - about half a mile before the actual village. A gate leads onto the machair and down to the beach.. ......

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